To L.A. and Beyond

July 27, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

For those of you keeping up with my journeys across the globe for the last six months or so, I'd like to rewind to about four or five months ago... 

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Teetering back and forth whether I should travel to California before jetting back to Europe again, I figured, why not go on another adventure?

Here I was, back in Minneapolis after learning some tough, yet important, life lessons on my own from making [more] stupid decisions. Part of me is glad that I made those decisions, because things happen for a reason. I wouldn't have been boarding a flight to LAX if I was still stuck in Iowa City.

 The only advice I can ever give to anyone is to try not to live  life with any regrets and always do whatever it is that makes you happiest, although, that is easier said than done just try.

I thought coming back home would be good for me but I found myself longing to see the unfamiliar again. Nobody tells you how coming home could be as depressing as it was.  It becomes easier to fall into bad, old habits. Especially when you see the people that probably weren't the best for you when all you're trying to do is reconnect with what you used to know, you remember that there's a reason why you left home in the first place. Maybe one day I'll want to call this place home, but for the moment, Minnesota just isn't enough. Having no photoshoots for the week meant I had no reason not to go, so I boarded a flight to Los Angeles, CA the next morning. 

Bags packed and camera clung to my shoulder, I was ready to leave Minnesota again. 

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Jonah and John had been traveling across the country documenting their time spent in Jonah's trusty Ford Taurus, Airbnb's, friend's couches, and the most scenic destinations in North America for The Great North American Tour.

We talked about me making it out to meet them along the way, which one thing people should know about me is when I say I'll travel to come visit you somewhere, I mean it.

I can't thank Jonah and John enough for the invitation, the journey, and the memories. edit-4edit-4

Landing in LAX at 9AM, groggy from only two hours of sleep, I come down the escalator to see Jonah, with his camera in hand, awaiting my arrival at the airport. I was so happy to see that bashful smile of his. Made our way to the car and headed for that LA traffic. We drove back to Beverly Glenn area where he was staying with Anna and John. Both from Iowa as well, checking out LA to make the big move in the near future. I've always thought maybe I would be happy in California. People always tell me I come off as a SoCal girl... So, this trip I decided to take note of my surroundings as to how they made me feel, especially to consider for my next home, temporary or not.

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Jonah's talents go far beyond just videography. His love for film made him someone I could easily connect with.

He has truly been an inspiration to me in pursuing work that he's passionate about and staying true to the art of film. 

The shots he snagged of me are 120mm film, I think he was happy to have a new subject to photograph on the second leg of this trip (no offense John ;)

 

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I wish I would've flown out earlier to enjoy more time with these two lovebirds as well as Jonah. 

I don't think I've ever laughed that hard at absolutely nothing when we were slap happy, sunburnt, and exhausted waiting for our dinner at In-In-Out Burger.

But those are the moments we never forget, right?

The love and the laughter. 

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California has such spirit and radiating energy for the creative souls. Instantly you feel like you're a part of a community, everyone is there chasing a similar dream. 

Here are some shots from a perfect day spent at Manhattan Beach:

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I was supposed to stay in Los Angeles for about a week but I had such a wonderful time with Jonah, John, and Anna I didn't want it to end. Jonah told me they were headed to San Fransisco the next morning after dropping Anna off at the airport and there was enough room in the back of the car as long as I didn't mind squeezing in next to the camera gear.

Leave it to me to make a spur of the moment decision to road trip over 1,000 miles up the West Coast. 

Next Stop: San Fransisco 

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We drove all day and all night not stopping until close to midnight. I reached out to my cousin, Jenna, that lives in San Fransisco and she offered me a warm bed and puppy snuggles for the night. Thank you, Jenna! Isn't that the best part of traveling, seeing familiar faces in foreign places? It proves this world is smaller than we all seem to believe. 

The next morning we were up bright and early. Jenna and I took the ferry into the city and said our goodbyes. I walk outside right as Jonah and John pull up to the curb. We were ready to start our day as tourists at the Fisherman's Wharf. Our first order of business: Coffee.

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After the Fisherman's Wharf we'd had our fix of seagulls and the smell of lobster rolls that we so badly wanted but it was still too early in the morning to have. Our check in time for the Airbnb we booked wasn't until 1pm so we had all morning to kill being it was only 9am. The Mission District was suggested by a few for some thrifting and street shooting. What used to be heavily populated by latinos still is but has it's fair share of homeless occupying almost every street corner and lots of car break ins that seemed like the norm to locals. The number of homeless people was something I had to get used to. I lived in New York City for a little while and although the homeless problem there is pretty bad, nothing compared to San Fransisco. 

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Anyways, our peers were right about Mission District. If you're looking to do some wicked street shooting come here for a few hours. The colors, the people, the old cars.   edit-15edit-15 edit-68edit-68 edit-65edit-65 edit-33edit-33 edit-61edit-61 edit-17edit-17 edit-32edit-32         edit-96edit-96

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It started to get closer to check in time so we went back to the car in search for what turned out to be the sweetest Airbnb right around the corner from Haight-Ashbury. Although, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into being in this area...  edit-30edit-30

This area still prides itself as the start and rise of the hippie movement of San Fransisco in the early 60s. It's now a tourist attraction for those visiting but also one of the best spots I've seen for some rad vintage shops. My little hippie soul was in heaven surrounded by retro dresses, suede jackets, and turquoise jewelry. 

The people were quite interesting, to say the least. A large number of drifters whom absolutely intrigue me. Back in Columbia, MO, during my undergrad I met a few young drifters from all over the country just hanging out, living life day to day, not sure where they would be tomorrow. I remember sitting there with them for over an hour listening to them jam out together and bullshit. They let me photograph them and I gave them a few dollars each for their time and smiles. Unfortunately, in Haight-Ashbury area I wouldn't recommend trying to photograph these travelers. They are not afraid to harass you and possibly even take your camera (something I was told by locals).

I did however try to sneak a few here and there.

edit-14edit-14 Our Airbnb was stunning. A photographer and videographer's dream flooded with natural light, white walls, and charming details.

Jonah took full advantage of this picturesque room and caught a quiet moment of me... edit-50edit-50

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The most beautiful place we wandered to were the Sutro Baths along the coast. A little history behind the Sutro Baths, in 1896 they opened as the World's largest indoor swimming establishment built by the former mayor of San Fransisco, but in 1966 it was destroyed by a fire later determined to be arson. The ruins are an urban playground for photographer's, hikers, and explorers with beaches, caves, colorful rock formations, and rough waters leaving you drenched if you're not careful.

We were blessed with rain and wind.

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Later that night we got to meet up with an old friend of mine that recently moved to San Fransisco, Bryn. Unfortunately I didn't get any good photos of us since that night consisted of too m any tequila shots mixed with remincing over Pacificos with lime. I woke up the next morning remembering why I don't take shots now that I'm 24 and had to endure a brutal hangover. Jonah suffered through it with me while we got coffee, explored more of the city, and found a film shop to develop and pick up a few more rolls of film. That night all I wanted was Thai food (like I always do when I'm hungover or feeling sick) so he hunted for the nearest spot which ended up being one of the best Thai restaurants in the area. The lights were dreamy inside. I was finally able to look at a screen at this point and brought my camera to dinner with me to make a portrait or two

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The next morning we packed up and headed towards Portland.

 This would be my last leg of the trip... but we'll pick up on that next blog posting.

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Thank you for your eyes and time, my friends.

xo

steph


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